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Gravel Fun

Consistent with my past of always wanting to push myself to the next level of fun, I met a new goal this past week. When I mastered the marathon, I ran a 50-mile ultra, and after riding a metric century, I rode a century. Yesterday, I road a metric century (plus several miles) on gravel. Our gravel roads in western Loudoun add a whole other dimension that paved roads don’t. There are potholes and washboards, loose gravel just waiting to send you sliding, and demoralizing climbs followed by the excitement of careening down the other side. Yesterday’s ride was loads of fun, but exhausting. Perhaps it’s time to change up my idea of fun! 😉


Overview of the Week

Before discussing each day’s workouts, here’s an overview of my workouts from this past week. Scroll down for daily details…



Cycling: 31 miles
Average speed: 12.9 MPH
Bike: Cannondale Topstone
Surface: mostly gravel
Elevation gain: 2,303 feet
Start time: 9:27 AM
Location: western Loudoun
Weather: 51°, NE wind 13 MPH, gusts 24 MPH, and partly sunny, climbing to 62°
What I wore: bike shorts, s/s jersey, arm sleeves, jacket, ear-warmer headband, fingerless gloves over light gloves (removed jacket, ear-warmer, and base gloves 5 miles into ride)

When Bill and I saw wind in the forecast we were tempted to cancel, but as with most workouts, once we were done we were happy we hadn’t wimped out. We had a fun outing riding the gravel roads of western Loudoun County with our friends.



Strength Training: 1 total hour of full body broken into two time segments



Cycling: 58 miles
Average speed: 14.3 MPH
Bike: Specialized Roubaix Comp
Surface: paved
Elevation gain: 2,615 feet
Start time: 8:51 AM
Location: W&OD Trail and roads to Purcellville
Weather: 46° and sunny, climbing to 70° and breezy
What I wore: bike shorts, s/s jersey, arm sleeves, jacket, fingerless gloves over light gloves (removed jacket and base gloves 18 miles into ride)

This ride was all about detours for the first 12 or so miles! I could have easily gotten on the W&OD Trail west of the detours, but nooo, I wanted to experience riding all over the place on parkways while dodging cars that had no respect for the signs reminding drivers to share the road. Sadly, the closest encounter was with a school bus that decided it had to pass me on a two-lane road with oncoming traffic, giving me about a foot of clearance…



Strength Training: 1 hour of full body

Gardening: 3.5 hours mowing, trimming, raking, pruning, and sweeping



Running: 5K
Average pace: 8:45
Start time: 6:02 AM
Location: neighborhood circle
Weather: 46° and clear with a full moon
What I wore: shorts, tank, ear warmer headband, and gloves

Just as I’d hoped, the dark sky was clear with stars twinkling and a full moon leading my way as I breezed around our neighborhood circle. The cool crisp weather made me feel invigorated and my pace showed it!


Foam rolling: 10 minutes

Stretching: 10 minutes



Strength Training: 1 hour of full body

Balance and Stretching: 45 minutes

Gardening: 45 minutes pruning, watering, and sweeping



Cycling: 74 miles
Average speed: 12.2 MPH
Bike: Cannondale Topstone
Surface: mostly gravel
Elevation gain: 4,820 feet
Start time: 8:47 AM
Location: home via W&OD Trail to western Loudoun
Weather: 55° and overcast, climbing to 64° and sunny
What I wore: bike shorts, s/s jersey, arm sleeves, fingerless gloves over regular gloves, and ear warmer headband (took base gloves and ear warmers off about 30 miles into ride)

We set out for 66 miles of gravel grinding, but the course that Bill had loaded into our Garmins (affiliate link) wasn’t the one we expected so we kept readjusting the course and ended up riding 8 miles farther than planned. Luckily, the weather was delightful and it was a joy being outside. Even though we were dressed in our VeloPig kits, we didn’t join the group but saw them at one of our stops.

On the way home, we stopped at Plum Grove Cyclery with 8 miles to go and I had a new saddle (affiliate link) I’d ordered from the bike shop put on my bike. My girl parts didn’t like the saddle that came on the bike and I had to do something about it! When Kim and her husband visited a few weeks ago, Pat recommended Brooks saddles and when I mentioned that brand to the bike shop owners, they agreed that they were great saddles. I purchased one with a slit in the middle (similar to my road bike), but if I don’t like it after a few test rides, they’ll let me return it.


Last Week’s Blog Posts

In case you skipped checking in on my blog this past week, here’s what you missed…


  • • Have you ever set out to run or bike a set distance, but ended up going much farther?
  • • What type of trail work have you had to endure where you run, walk, or cycle??
  • • Did you run in a race this weekend? If so, was it live or virtual?


And that’s my rundown… Have a great week!




I’m linking up with Deborah at Confessions of a Mother Runner and Kim from Running on the Fly for their Weekly Run Down. Be sure to check out not only the hosts’ posts, but those of the other great bloggers joining in on the fun!


Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the blue product link and then make a purchase, I will receive a small commission for referring you. You will pay no more or less for the product; however, Amazon will show their gratitude for my referral by paying me.